The terrorist attack yesterday in San Bernardino, California was horrific. The commentary from the right-wing in America is just as horrific. Because we now know that the attackers were Muslim, the right-wing wants to paint all Muslims with a broad brush. The terrorist who attacked the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado was a middle-aged white man. Why aren’t all middle-aged white males under suspicion? Why won’t we call him a “Christian Extremist” or “Christian Terrorist?” There was another mass shooting yesterday in Savannah, Georgia but because the shooter hasn’t been identified, there are no broad statements to be made yet.
According to the Washington Post, the horrific scene in San Bernardino was the 355th mass shooting in America this year. (For their purposes, a mass shooting is defined “as incidents in which four or more people, including the gunman, are killed or injured by gunfire.”) In 2013, there were 363 mass shootings. In 2014, there were 336 mass shootings.
Another statement that concerns me is the overemphasis on “black on black crime.” The truth is that white crime is more prevalent than black crime. Did you know that 84 percent of whites were killed by other whites? Did you know that most violent crimes in America are committed by whites, including most forcible rapes? If this is the case, then why are minorities (specifically blacks) blamed for most crime? Why is black on black crime the focus? Why do I, as a young-educated-spiritual-non-violent-non-criminal black man, live under shroud and specter of black on black crime? The only explanation is white privilege.
Read some of the recent (and classic) words of Tim Wise (a white scholar who has made it his life’s work to educate us on these matters). America, we have serious problems amongst us. There are simple solutions to these problems. But these simple solutions will take a massive political shift, which will only happen by a social uprising of the socially and spiritually conscious. Universal mandatory early childhood education, free tutoring for all grades, low-cost or free trade schools, low-cost or free community college, universal health care, universal mental health services, and a sensible gun policy are just some of the things we know can revolutionize our nation. But as long as we make minorities, Muslims, and everything else perceived as non-white the boggy man, the ills of America will never get solved.